A walk and a sing

Today’s guest picture comes from Zyriacus.  It shows the Leichlingen bridge across the Wupper river.  It was built in 1926 and he tells me that it was built of concrete because at that time the river was so contaminated that they feared that a metal bridge would corrode.  He says that things are better now.


The thermometer simply will not drop below freezing this winter.  It was 0.6C this morning when we got up and it rose to 3 degrees by the afternoon.   There was a good deal of ice about  and Mrs Tootlepedal, alerted by a child taking a tumble on the road in front of her,  had to get off her bike and push it when she went to sing in church .  It was all clear by the time she came  home.

I spent the time while she was singing, doing some research for my forthcoming toast.  It is one of those cases where there is so much material available and so many possible avenues of exploration that my head hurts just thinking about it all.  I am hoping that inspiration or at least a sensible idea hits me soon.

I did find some time to stare out of the window.

A blackbird arrived after all the blackbird food had gone. It didn’t seem bothered.
Later, it magically turned into a chaffinch

A single brambling visited.


After Mrs Tootlepedal returned from church, we had an early lunch and went for a walk.  Mrs Tootlepedal is a great lover of novelty so we drove to the top of Callister and then walked along a forest track which which we had never walked along before.  It gives an idea of the restless pace of forest management here that this plantation has been planted, felled and replanted since we came to live in the area.

That is a man made duck pond at the bottom of the slope.

Our walk took us round a shallow valley and we hadn’t gone far before we met a robin.

There is always a robin wherever you walk round here.

We started by walking back parallel to the road we had come along and we passed a bridge which I must have cycled across perhaps a hundred times without ever noticing that it was there.

Callister Bridge
Not one of our most elegant structures.

Our route took us through some mature trees and out into the felled area.  The plantation trees are planted so closely and grow so quickly and with such shallow roots that when a block is felled, the trees on the edge of the next block are very susceptible to being blown over.

fallen trees

Times have changed a bit and now grants are only made available if some broad leaved trees are planted as well as conifers.  The use of tubes for these young trees seems to be universal.

We were able to get some good views as walked through the cleared area.

Nith estuary
We could just see the Nith estuary to the west.
View from Kirtleton Forest
We were on the very edge of the hills above the Solway plain.

It turned out to be a very varied and enjoyable walk and we will certainly come back again when we have more time to explore.  On this occasion, we stopped when we came to a small frozen pond…

Frozen pond

…which surprisingly had a couple of daisies blooming beside it.

daisy in January

Here we turned back and retraced our steps, stopping to admire some boldly coloured lichen(?) on our way.


This was reminiscent of the op art patterns popular in our youth.

The track through the mature forest….


Kirtleton forest
I have added Mrs Tootlepedal to give a sense of scale.

…was lined by mossy banks….

Mossy bank

…which were very striking on closer examination.

mossy banks

As we looked back, we could see that the weather was closing in.

Kirtleton forest view
A patch of brightness trapped between dark cloud and sombre forest.

We were intrigued to find a bed of reeds growing beside the track as we got near the car.


It was hard to work out where this had come from and, if it was planted deliberately, why someone had gone to the trouble.

I should add that although I was too chicken to go out on my bike ,while we were driving to our walk  we passed several cyclists, including a very small child, as well as a jogger, all braving the possible icy patches.

I didn’t have long after we got home until it was time for me to go off to Carlisle to sing in a community choir there.  Two of our recorder group sing with the choir and they had said that it was very worthwhile so I thought that I would give it a go.   They had about 50 singers there of whom only six were tenors and three of these were ladies so I was warmly welcomed.  They have a very able and energetic young choirmaster who comes all the way from Glasgow to take them and I enjoyed the meeting and the choice of music so much that I will definitely go back again on a regular basis.  I am hoping to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal to join me.

A chaffinch in the cold morning light does duty as flying bird of the day once again.

flying chaffinch





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “A walk and a sing

  1. Dear tom I am the worse ..or better for imbibing of the grape? however I need to say that you quite make my day? rarely comment, never miss the blog? however I would were it absent? If this makes no sense to anyone..it does me …and I thank you and Mrs T for just being…..Your efforts are truly appreciated if often unstated proof indeed that what often appears mundane is often exceptional! Thanks Tom and all those that make you who you are

  2. What do they do with the harvested trees? Are they used for dimensional lumber?
    That salmon pink lichen is a real beauty. I’ve never seen one like it. I think the lichen in the next photo might be a script lichen (Graphis scripta).
    I’ve never seen a moss like that one. It’s amazing.

  3. I wonder if the reeds are useful for re-thatching roofs? Lovely photos. The close up of the moss looks just like a miniature version of the plantation forest.

  4. The moss and the one below that of the dramatic lighting are my favorites from today. I thought that the bridge was a left over structure from WW II until I read what it was. It doesn’t look like a bridge that belongs in your country side so full of much more appealing bridges.

    1. There are quite a few of these utilitarian bridges over culverts, strengthened as the vehicles that went over them got heavier through the years.

  5. My two favourite pictures are of the closing in weather and the Nith estuary. I am very glad that you enjoyed the sing, i’ll bet they were very pleased to see and hear you.

  6. It’s good that they are now requiring some diversity in the tree plantations. A tree farm is not a forest, as they say, and monocultures can be more susceptible to problems.

  7. The guest photo was exceptional, loved the pink clouds. It seems like a lovely place to walk and I’m glad you and Mrs T got out for a nice stroll. I saw daisies on the embankment of the Big Bridge last week and couldn’t believe my eyes. I think all of nature is confused by the warm winter but I wonder if there is a cold snap ahead that will throw things into even greater confusion?

  8. It seems the mild winter has the plant life fooled over there too. I liked your picture of the dark clouds and forest 😀

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